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Oracle rises as 2Q results top analysts' estimates

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Oracle neared a 52-week high on Thursday as the business software maker's fiscal second-quarter adjusted profit and revenue topped analysts' estimates.

Late Wednesday Oracle Corp. reported an adjusted profit of 69 cents per share on revenue of $9.28 billion. Analysts surveyed by FactSet forecast earnings of 67 cents per share on revenue of $9.18 billion.

Pacific Crest Securities' Brendan Barnicle said in a client note that Oracle's quarterly strength was a good sign after the company missed estimates for three quarters. The analyst sees several potential growth drivers, including its new cloud offerings, its new database 12c and a possible recovery in the on-premise application market.

Barnicle maintained an "Outperform" rating and raised Oracle's price target to $40 from $35.

Peter Goldmacher of Cowen and Co. said competition appears to be getting tougher, so he remains muted on the company's long-term prospects. The analyst is also keeping an eye on Oracle's profitability, saying he was surprised to see a decline in operating margins during the quarter.

Goldmacher reaffirmed a "Market Perform" rating.

Oracle's stock gained $1.51, or 4.4 percent, to $36.11 in midday trading. The shares rose to $36.40 earlier in the session, slightly below its 52-week high of $36.43.